Roman Baths, Bath

Bath Street with Cross Bath at the end


30 May 2011

Bath Street, Bath, Somerset

ST 74992 64720; 51.38097°N, 2.36072°W


Exploiting the only naturally occurring hot springs in the UK, the Romans established Bath in AD 43 as the spa resort Aquae Sulis (‘the waters of Sulis’, after the local Celtic goddess Sulis, identified with the Roman Minerva). The bathing complex was developed over about 300 years and then fell into disrepair following the Romans’ withdrawal from Britain. The site was later re-developed at various times. A bath was built over the King’s Spring in the 12th century and a new bath — the Queen’s Bath — was built to the south of the spring in the 16th century. The neo-classical Grand Pump Room was completed in 1799. This salon is still in use today as a restaurant and for taking the waters. Further additions to the complex were carried out in the 19th century.

Public hot pools in Bath were closed in 1978 following the death of a student who contracted meningitis from an amoebic infection in the spring water. Cross Bath, rebuilt in the 18th century and renovated in the 1990s, now forms part of complex which once again provides natural thermal baths open to the public. Following long delays and spiralling costs, Thermae Bath Spa opened in 2006. The main part of the spa, adjacent to Cross Bath, is housed in a modern ‘glass cube’ building.

Roman Baths, Bath (Wikipedia); Thermae Bath Spa (Wikipedia); Thermae Bath Spa

Bath Street, looking towards King's and Queen's Baths

Bath Street

The Pump Room

The Pump Room

The Pump Room Trio


6 thoughts on “Roman Baths, Bath

  1. It’s great to hear the ‘bath’ aspect of Bath has re-convened. Of Sulis little is known. Why? She is a native goddess whose name was taken respectfully for a major town in Romano-Celtic Britain, and yet we know more about any number of Roman gods than we do about Brythonic Sulis. I wonder why that is though?

    Thanks for the article! 🙂

    • Reconvened for those with deep pockets, perhaps 😉 (‘Prices in the New Royal Bath: 2-hour spa session – £25’) – although that did not appear to deter the long queue waiting to get in when I passed by.

  2. [grin]. Bath is posh 😉 Those are nice photos also. I actually think Sulis is incredibly important in British prehistory. The fact that the Romans were equating her with Minerva [Athena] testifies to her stature at this time and it’s about time someone wrote a book about her, in an attempt to recover her lost mythology I feel.

  3. Great shots (as always) particularly the Doric capitals with the street names. From the tea cup I surmise that you didn’t take the foul tasting
    Mixed thoughts about Bath. It’s a wonderful place, but I wrote off my Golf gti here in 1992 and I loved that car…perhaps I should have propitiated Sulis and told her that many burnish her memory, by the looks of this blog at least!

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